Reducing Ammonia Volatilization and Escherichia coli from Broiler Litter Using Multiple Applications of Sodium Bisulfate

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Virginia Tech

Ammonia (NH₃) emissions from animal manure, such as poultry litter, can cause air quality problems. These emissions also result in excessive nitrogen (N) loading into aquatic environments which can lead to water quality problems where N is the limiting nutrient for eutrophication, such as the Chesapeake Bay. Poultry litter treatment (PLT, sodium bisulfate) is an acidic amendment that is applied to litter in poultry houses to decrease NH3 emissions, but currently it can only be applied before birds are placed in the houses. This project analyzed the effect of multiple PLT applications on litter properties and NH₃ release in a controlled and field environment. Volatility chambers with acid traps were used to compare multiple, single, and no applications of PLT to poultry litter. Both single and reapplied PLT caused a greater moisture content and lower pH in litter. Additionally, the E.coli in litter was decreased significantly with both single and reapplied PLT. After 15 days, NH₃ released from litter treated with reapplied PLT was significantly less than litter with both single and no applications. Furthermore, NH₄⁺-N content of litter was greatest in litter treated with reapplied PLT increasing its fertilizer value. The efficacy of a new farm scale system capable of applying several additions of PLT to poultry litter throughout the growth of a flock was also evaluated. Though litter pH, E.coli, and NH₃ volatilization were temporarily decreased with PLT application, the overhead reapplication auger system is not recommended at this time due to moisture and corrosion problems.

Ammonia, Emissions, Sodium Bisulfate, Polutry Litter